My top 20 bucket list things

My bucket list keeps growing and growing. So much that it’s hard to keep up. In 2010, I first decided to make a bucket list. I added everything I wanted to do, achieve or overcome. It wasn’t just travel related, although most of the things I want to do in life, are.

Because my bucket list keeps changing all the time, I decided to make a top 20 of things I HAVE to do before I die. I quickly found out, that keeps changing as well. First world problem, much?

Below you’ll find my bucket list top 20, for now. I also added a short list of cool things I have been able to cross off my bucket list in the recent years.

If you think it’s hard to come up with your top 20 of favorite things you want to do before you die, try imagining doing it in order! That’s why this list is totally random.


My top 20 bucket list things

20 things I have to do before I kick the so-called bucket


Travel to Japan

You might see more Japan-related stuff on this list, that’s just because I’ve wanted to visit Japan since I was a teenager. I love EVERYTHING about Japan: culture, food, language, nature, wacky stuff… I could’ve gone to Japan a thousand times but instead I kept traveling to other places. Why, you ask?

My list for things to do in Japan keeps growing and growing until it has reached biblical and very not feasible proportions. My expectations grow as fast as the list itself, which makes it a little scary to step onto that plane and go.

Despite all that, I’ve made a promise to myself to visit Japan within the next 5 years. Will I be disappointed? Probably. I just hope I will experience a lot of things I didn’t expect!


Set foot on the tainted lands of Chernobyl

Dark much? Yes, but also incredibly fascinating and photogenic!

As a kid, I heard about the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl, Ukraine and ever since, I wanted to go. Back then, I never could’ve imagined it would be possible to set foot in this area. Nowadays, there are guided tours going to this piece of dark history of Ukraine. I still have to decide how to feel about taking tourists to something so sad. Maybe I could do so by experiencing it myself?


Get lost in enormous Kazakhstan

Lost might not be the best word, but I want to experience the wide landscape of Kazakhstan. This immense country fascinates me and I can see myself roaming the streets of Almaty or hiking the gorgeous Kolsai Lakes.


Sleep in the desert

Experiencing going to very hot to very cold, with a bright, starry sky above your head. Yes, that’s the dream!


Visit a country that doesn’t exist

I’m a sucker for wacky facts and strange historic happenings. The country (?) of Transnistria is one of those places I need to visit before I die. This part of Moldova has its own borders and flag but doesn’t get recognized by most countries. I need to see that for myself!


Learn how to shoot

If you think the bucket list wishes above are strange, try this one.

I don’t like guns, or violence and I don’t want to shoot a living thing. Still, I want to learn how to shoot. Don’t ask me why, I hardly know why myself. I just do.

I could just go to a shooting range and get it over with, but I have a specific place I want to be at before I learn it. Friendly folk in Zimbabwe have promised me that as soon as I visit, they’ll teach me. And that’s how it got on my bucket list.


Visit Liechtenstein – Completed in October 2018!

I don’t know exactly why I want to visit pocked-sized Liechtenstein so bad, I just do. The idea of a country so small that you can drive through it in 30 minutes is funny to me, I guess. Maybe it’s because I come from a petite country myself?

bucket list


Sleep in a capsule hotel

I don’t see why sleeping in a capsule hotel would be comfortable, yet I NEED to do it! The idea of everyone stacked upon each other to spend the night is quite ridiculous to me. Add the fact that I’m 180 cm tall and you’ll get how funny this is to me.


Visit Iran

World media portray Iran as a big baddie and no place to go on a holiday. To me, Iran looks like a fairytale: friendly people, amazing architecture and yummy food. Count me in!


Walk the Nakasendo Road

One of my top bucket list things to do in Japan is to walk the Nakasendo Road. This road connects a few cute villages to each other. I want to spend 3 – 5 days exploring the villages and their surroundings.


Visit all the things on my Soviet bucket list

A part of my regular bucket list consists of Soviet buildings and memorials I wish to visit. I love the very ugly Soviet architecture as it helps creating very dramatic photographs. The problem is that this bucket list keeps growing as well. Sigh!


Drive the Transfagarasan Road, Romania – Completed in July 2014!

Named best road in the world by Top Gear and drop dead gorgeous, I have to go! I want to see dramatic views, steep mountains (preferably foggy) and Alpine meadows. Also, I want to feel my stomach turn on every hairpin curve!

Read about my adventure on the Transfagarasan Road here.

bucket list

Take a gap year

Traveling for a year (or longer) is probably something a lot of you wish to do as well. It doesn’t need much explaining, right?

Right now, I’m saving (slowly) to be able to travel for a year. Where would I go? Well… Japan, South-Korea and Hong Kong are definitely on the list. I would love to squeeze in Iran and Kazakhstan as well.


Visit Belarus

I can’t imagine what it’s like to visit Belarus or what you can do once you’re there. And that might be the reason why it’s in my top 20 of things to do before I die.


Discover Kosovo

When you read my blog regularly, you know I have warm feelings towards this part of Europe. Kosovo is one of those places, I wanted to visit for a long time but didn’t make it for some reason. One of the things I want to do is hike in the mountains to get to sleepy villages, filled with locals instead of tourists.


Travel around in Zimbabwe

A few years ago, I met someone from Zimbabwe. Since then, he’s been telling me awesome stories about his country and family. There are many things to do there: from visiting the stunning Victoria falls to going on a safari in one of the national parks. When I travel to the African continent, I hope Zimbabwe is the reason!


Marvel at the Tatev monastery, Armenia

Ever since I visited Armenia, I’ve been dreaming about going back for more. On our way there, I really wanted to see the Tatev monastery in the south of the country. Unfortunately, there was political unrest at the time, which prevented us from going. Next time, I set foot in Armenia, this will happen!


Learn Russian

With all the countries I want to visit in that region, it’s good to know some Russian words and phrases. I had a short period last year where I started to learn Russian, but I stopped due to lack of time (and motivation). For now, I can now tell you all about milk and apples and where those two are located.


Travel all the Stans

Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan… Basically, I want to visit all the Stans. Unfortunately, it’s not safe enough to visit some of these countries, but I’m hoping to visit as much of them as I can soon.


Cross off every country in Europe

I’m not much into country counting but it seems like fun nonetheless to cross of every country on the European continent. How many I still have to visit is debatable due to cultural and geological boundaries. Let’s just say, I have a whole lot to go!



Crossed off bucket list dreams

Not in the top 20 but still worth telling you about because I was able to cross them off!

  • Take a speed boat ride
  • Taste Port
  • See Berlin by bicycle
  • Night walk to the Notre Dame
  • Island hopping in Croatia
  • Travel the Balkans by bus
  • Swim in the Adriatic sea
  • Horseback riding through the hills of Sarajevo
  • Go clubbing in Stockholm
  • See the bay of Kotor
  • Visit the Berlin wall
  • Take family to Budapest
  • Fly alone
  • See Sarajevo
  • Train ride through Transylvania
  • Work in a hostel
  • Travel solo
  • Live in a city for a month
  • Volunteer in a foreign country
  • Visit Anca in Contanta
  • See the London NYE fireworks show


What’s on your bucket list?

Tell me everything about your bucket list dreams and accomplished goals! Do you think there’s anything missing in this top 20? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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  • Reply
    L. Spaans.
    December 15, 2014 at 13:26

    How about the Northern Countries, like Scandanavia etc.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      December 15, 2014 at 14:13

      Oh they are definitely on the list, don’t worry! It’s just that my entire bucket list is way too big to bore you with 😉

  • Reply
    December 28, 2014 at 20:22

    Awesome stuff! I’m real keen for the Ghibli museum. Where do the eat guinea pigs? Seems a little sad to me…

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      December 28, 2014 at 21:47

      Oh me too, Charlie! I have to see the giant Totoro statue in real life! The guinea pigs… Yeah I know. I’ve always wondered what they would taste like though. Someone once told me about eating them in, what I remember, Peru. It startled me.

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